Are we Linkedin or are we only half way there?
What is LinkedIn?
According to the official blab ~ LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 60 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.
So what does this really mean?
Well lets compare with Facebook which most people are familiar with. Facebook is basically people connecting with friends and hooking up with long lost school buddies in a fairly informal, anything (and yes everything sometimes) goes.
Linkedin is a social platform designed to connect business people to other business people via their past and present work experience in a much more formal manner… ie not to many pictures of last nights drink fest or weekend getaway. Basically it’s your CV or résumé online for the entire world to become aware of.
However, like a lot of things in life, lots of people do not have a completed or up-to-date CV… why would we? unless we are thinking of ditching our current work and going elsewhere. So Linkedin in only as good as the information you have posted on it. The nice thing they integrate is a percentage counter telling you how complete your profile is. And I have to say getting that to 100% takes time and OMG work!!!
So now you have a 100% profile what can you do with it?
Well like Facebook you can use it to just keep up to date with colleagues and friends, but that would be the basic.
The real strength of Linkedin comes with using it to find experts and ideas or exploring network connections. Or, people find you for your expertise.
Linkedin is exactly that. Exploring a connected or linked network asking for introductions (i.e. online handshakes) from trusted colleagues to find people that may be able to help you out in your business or career venture.
For example: You need to find someone to come in and help your business understand and use social media better? (Can you see where this is going?)
If we needed to find a good Chinese restaurant you would ask a trusted friend who would tell you “I don’t know, I don’t like foreign food. I am all meat and potatoes, but my buddies buddy was rooming with an exchange student from the college who is totally into that kind of stuff I will link you up”.
You do the same on Linkedin. You can search for a social media expert and then it gives you a path of connections of people in your networks to talk to that person. (i.e. You happen to know someone who knows Jessica Samuels who happens to know a great guy by the name of Scott Davis and could get you in contact to come over and help you)
Joining groups on Linkined is an underutilized feature,
Before going places login to some of the social media big players and type in your destination. You may be surprised how much information is being shared.
You also get some very honest reviews, and people are quite willing to answer any questions that you may have add # (hashtag destination search) to you twitter and see whom you may find and question away.
Most of what you get will be consumer generated and may show or talk about some of the things in a much more honest way than the official hotel site !!!!